For his first-ever visit to Texas, Justin Carrasquillo, a Los Angeles–based photographer spent more than twenty days driving all across the state. He covered 4,847 miles and captured more than 13,000 images of vistas, from the mesas in West Texas to lighthouses at the Coast for our June 2012 cover story. Here’s more from the man behind the camera on his travels through the Lone Star State.

How did this photo shoot compare to other similar ones you’ve done?
Creative freedom. No layouts, but rather a well defined goal: show Texas and its beauty.

What struck you the most about the Texas landscape and towns?
The vast amounts of land and the hospitality. Loved it!

If you could do one of the drives again, which one would it be? Why?
The lighthouse drive was really cool. As soon as I got a taste of salt in the air I was pretty excited.

Which drive was your least favorite?
The Hill Country drive. It was a bit frustrating there to stop and shoot. Tons of blind spots and really fast drivers made for some uncomfortable moments.

How did you keep your mind alert during long stretches of nothing?
Well it was a lot of stop and go. Stop, shoot, drive, stop, shoot, etc. That, plus coffee, Guns ‘N Roses and Hank Williams did the trick.

What were your expectations about the things you would see on the trip? Did any prove to be wildly inaccurate? Were any spot on?
I expected to see “miles and miles of Texas!” I really had no idea how diverse the terrain would be. I ended up seeing almost every terrain imaginable. Bayou, desert, forrest, farmland, city, ocean, hills, rivers, lakes, etc.

Which photo shoot was most memorable?
I’d say photographing James Jennings in Littlefield. I hung out with him for a bit and learned all kinds of cool stuff about his brother Waylon Jennings and other interesting facts about Texas.

Did you take any photos just for your own enjoyment? What were some of those images?
Yes. I shot a good amount of car shots for my car portfolio. Mostly of my rental car. Also, I shot some night photography to add to my night book.

What is something you wish you could have done or seen more of?
I really loved South Padre Island. I could have stayed down there for weeks!

Will you be back?
Most Definitely! Camera in hand.